cooking

American Tacos

When I was a kid, all I knew of tacos was the stuff you could make with a kit like this topped with iceberg lettuce, bottled salsa, and pre-shredded cheddar cheese. In the past 10 years or so, Philadelphia and other big US cities have had a taqueria boom, and I’ve discovered some amazing authentic tacos. Still, I occasionally miss the tacos of my youth. So now I make my own with less processed ingredients.

Taco Seasoning Mix
2 tb chili powder
1 tb cumin
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more if you want it spicy)

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Brown the ground beef. Drain off most of the fat. Add in the onion and cook until soft (3-5 minutes). Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Mix in the taco seasoning mix. Set aside.

Shells
Buy premade taco shells or make your own with corn tortillas. Alton Brown has a nice method for deep frying them but here’s what I do. You may need to do this in batches. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 12 tortillas with oil, and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, turning over every few minutes, until they just start to get a little crispy. Fold each one in half, weigh it down with a spoon, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Fill each shell with a couple of tablespoons of the seasoned beef, and bake for 4-5 minutes. You should do this regardless of whether you’re using premade shells or you make your own.

Toppings
Shredded cheddar (shred your own – do not buy the pre-shredded stuff)
Greens (I like arugula, baby kale, or baby spinach)
Chopped onion
Chopped tomato
Salsa (make your own! I’ll post a recipe here sometime)
Sour cream
Avocado
Guacamole

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